LEXINGTON – Justin Welch is one step closer to winning back-to-back state championships in the discus.
The Eastwood High School junior threw 194-2 Thursday to win a Division II regional championship at
Lexington High School.
The defending state champion’s performance was part of a big day for the Eagles, who also received a
first-place finish from senior Crosby Schemenauer in the pole vault and a second-place effort from
senior Josh Hoodlebrink in the long jump.
Schemenauer cleared 15-4 to break his own school record of 15-3 set earlier this year. Hoodlebrink went
22-9 in the long jump.
Welch, Schemenauer and Hoodlebrink all qualified for next week’s state meet with their performances. The
top four finishers in each event at the regional qualify for the state meet in Columbus
Eastwood also advanced three individuals and two relay teams to Saturday’s regional finals.
"We had a heck of a day," Eastwood coach Gary White said. "We’re very, very pleased with
the way we performed. Everyone did what they were supposed to do."
The Lexington area was hit by heavy rains during the afternoon and the teams didn’t start warming up
until just 45 minutes before the competition started. The rain was off and on after that.
"We didn’t the let the weather bother us," White said. "We stayed focused and did a great
The Eagles also are aiming to win the regional as a team. They’re in first place with 29 points, while
Sandusky Perkins is second with 18 and Defiance is third with 15.
"Winning the regional would be a bonus," White said. "We’re just concerned with getting as
many kids as we can to state. We’re really pleased we have three going already and everyone we have left
has a shot of going to state. You can’t ask for anything more than that."
Welch was terrific again. His winning throw came on his first attempt of the finals after he started the
preliminaries with a toss of approximately 183-0.
Perkins senior Kyle Steinhauser finished second at 172-11.
The competitors receive three throws during the preliminaries with the top nine distances advancing to
the finals where each athlete has three more throws to improve their distance.
"I’m pretty satisfied with my performance," Welch said. "I’m moving onto state and I feel
good about that.
Welch’s personal best of 198-6 is the fifth-best nationally, making him the favorite to win state.
In addition to repeating as champion, Welch’s goal at state is to break the state record and the
state-meet record of 203-7 set by Fostoria’s Cory Echelberry in 1999.
"I’m pretty confident right now and I’m throwing well," Welch said. "I’m excited about
going back to state and what could happen there."
Welch will compete in the discus Saturday at the regional. He finished 14th at state in the event last
Schemenauer and Ontario junior Jamey Robson both jumped 15-4, but Schemenauer finished first because he
had fewer misses.
"I’m happy to be going back to state," said Schemenauer, the state runnerup in the event last
season. "To go 15-4 is my best and I’m happy with that."
After winning at 15-4, Schemenauer missed all three of his attempts at 15-8 – his only misses of the
"I didn’t clear 15-8, but my attempts were pretty good," Schemenauer said. "I was
Eastwood junior Jake Rogers finished eighth in the pole vault at 13-0.
Hoodlebrink, a state qualifier in the long jump last year, was the runnerup to Delta senior Korbin Smith,
who went 22-11 1/2.
"I could have done better, but getting second and qualifying for state is nice," said
Hoodlebrink, who has a personal best of 23-3.
Hoodlebrink will compete in the high jump Saturday. He tied for sixth in the event at state last year.
In the girls regional, Eastwood senior Emily Bockbrader finished eighth in the shot with a distance of